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All wood needs to be finished with a product in order to prevent swelling, cracking, and stains. In addition to protection, a good wood finish will enhance the appearance of the wood as well. There are many different types of wood finishes out there that all serve different purposes; however, there are a few things every quality wood finish should be able to do (Osmo wood finishes have all these benefits and more):  



  • Protect against stains, spills, and water
  • Micro-porous (to breathe and move with the wood, which prevents cracking)
  • Not off-gas toxic chemicals, and be safe to touch (at the very least)
  • Protect and enhance the colour of the wood
  • Spot-repairable (so you don’t have to re-sand and re-apply the finish over the entire surface when one small part gets damaged)

There are typically two different types of wood finishes: penetrating finishes (those that sink into the pores of the wood and dry inside) and surface finishes (those that sit on top of the wood and dry outside).


Penetrating (Oil) Finishes

 Penetrating (Oil) Finishes 

  • Protects wood from within
  • Does not form a film
  • Does not form protective surface


Advantages of Penetrating (Oil) Finishes

  • Penetrates the wood
  • “Firing” of the wood
  • Can be simply and partially renovated
  • Does not crack, flake, peel, or blister


Disadvantages of Penetrating (Oil) Finishes

  • Poor resistance against liquids
  • Very time-consuming maintenance

Surface (Varnish or Lacquer) Finishes

 Surface (Varnish or Lacquer) Finishes



  • Protects wood from outside
  • is film-forming
  • Generates a thick layer


Advantages of Surface (Varnish or Lacquer) Finishes

  • Finish forms a film/layer on the top of the wood surface
  • Good resistance against liquids
  • Protects from abrasion
  • Easy maintenance


Disadvantages of Surface (Varnish or Lacquer) Finishes

  • For renovation, the whole area needs to be sanded (cannot be renovated partially)
  • Finish will crack, flake, peel, and blister



Is there a finish that combines the advantages of both systems?

Osmo wood finishes are a high-quality hybrid of both penetrating and surface finishes. We are the original “Hardwax-Oil” on the market. This means that we have a specially engineered blend of both oils and waxes to combine the advantages of both types of finishes. Osmo wood finishes were scientifically developed in Germany, and are now available to the North American market.

Hardwax-Oil Natural Wood Finishes

 Hardwax-Oil Natural Wood Finish



  • Protects the wood from both in and outside
  • Does not form a film
  • Forms a protective, microporous surface


Advantages of Hardwax-Oil Natural Wood Finishes

  • The finish both penetrates the wood and lays on the surface
  • “Firing” of the wood
  • Can be easily and partially renovated
  • Does not crack, flake, peel, or blister
  • Great fluid and abrasion resistance
  • Easy maintenance


Disadvantages of Hardwax-Oil Natural Wood Finishes

  • One System. All the Advantages. None of the disadvantages.



Products Featured in This Article

  • Osmo Polyx-Oil 3043


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      • 3031 Matte
      • 3043 Satin
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  • Osmo TopOil 3056


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      • 3025 Natural
      • 3026 Acacia
      • 3056 Clear
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  • Osmo UV Protection Oil 410 Clear


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      • 410 Clear
      • 420 Clear Extra
      • 425 Oak Extra
      • 428 Cedar Extra
      • 429 Natural Extra
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Osmo Holz und Color is accredited according to DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 (quality management system) and DIN 14001 (environmental management system)

In compliance with demands of EURO NORM standard specifications EN 13 and EN 162

Copyright All Rights Reserved © 2018 Osmo Wood and Colour Canada Ltd. and Osmo Holz und Color GmbH & Co. KG. Technical modifications and delivery rights reserved. Measurements, prices and illustrations are subject to change. Although we check our marketing materials thoroughly, we cannot completely rule out the possibility of mistakes. The colour tones shown on the website and in catalogues are non-binding and samples are suggested. In the interest of product development and improvement we reserve the right to technically modify products.

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